Surprises abound with Lucas Niggli's approach to improvised composition, using 40 playing cards that his ten-piece ensemble interpret, drawing on inspired performers from improvised, experimental and contemporary classical music, their game performed over three rounds, allowing an incredibly diverse set of approaches to reveal themselves on each unique track.
Evan Parker and Matthew Wright are the core of Trance Map, the soprano saxophonist and live electronics duo expanding on their original 2011 concept with Trance Map+, adding guest musicians to their unique approach to electroacoustic improvisation, here in an exceptional quartet configuration with Peter Evans on trumpet & piccolo trumpet, and Mark Nauseff on percussion.
Michael Formanek's compositions run a wide range of styles and approaches to creative modern jazz, from flowing lyrical melodies to tense agitation in rapid runs, all anchored by Formanek's powerful bass and rendered with his Elusion Quartet of Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano sax, Kris Davis on piano and Ches Smith on drums & vibes; inventive jazz that continuously surprises.
Zurich tenor saxophonist & composer Christoph Irniger in his fourth album on the Intakt label with his creative and cooperative band Pilgrim of Stefan Aeby on piano, Dave Gisler on guitar, Raffaele Bossard on bass and Michael Stulz on drums, performing Irninger's lyrical and thoughtful compositions, along with one from bassist Raffaele Bossard.
Swiss vocalist Sarah Buechi leads a new trio with Franz Hellmüller on guitar and Rafael Jerjen on bass, putting a uniquely expressive touch to a mix of original Buechi songs, standards including "I Thought About You" and "Moon River", and traditional song, the intimate and adept playing of Hellmüller and Jerjen enveloping the trio with a warm glow.
The 3rd Intakt release from NY multi-reedist and composer Chris Speed's Trio with bassist Chris Toridini and drummer Dave King, who is also a part of Speed's other working band The Bad Plus, this new album presenting eight original Speed compositions that, as Speed explains, get to the point of featuring the song, the sophisticated melodies around which this excellent trio pivot.
Unique approaches to the piano trio format, alerted to the listener by merging synthetics and samples into the opening, bubbling carnival-esque "Rapture", then settling into more recognizable yet innovative approaches to creative, modern jazz through Hawkin's fascinating compositions, electronics drifting in and out at times but generally adhering to great, modern jazz.
The other shaded region to their 2022 Penumbra album, keyboardist Stemeseder and drummer Christian Lillinger explore "utopias in sound production" through acoustic and electronic composition, creating evolving melodies and sonic tapestries in performance with Peter Evans on Piccolo trumpet, Russell Hall on bass, DoYeon Kim on Gayageum and Brandon Seabrook on banjo & guitar.
Recording at the Rudy van Gelder Studio, this is Cuban pianist David Virelles' debut on Intakt with his trio of bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson, performing eight Virelles compositions and his arrangement of a piece by Enrique Bonne Castillo; a joyful contemporary piano trio of great technical skill and passionate performance beautifully captured.
A new trio setting from New York alto saxophonist Tim Berne with accordionist & multi-instrumentalist Aurora Nealand and long-time associate, cellist Hank Roberts, a warmly orchestrated band that allows fluid and relaxed approaches to their playing, Berne's compositions evoking exquisite tonal color and diverse conversations from pacific to tempestuous.
Celebrating 20 years since his recording debut as a leader and his own 50th birthday, Cuban-born, New York-based pianist Aruán Ortiz presents his 6th album on Intakt in a trio with bassist Brad Jones and drummer John Betsch, opening with a Gillespie/Parker number then taking us on a spectacular journey through contemporary jazz influenced by Afro-Cuban/Haitian traditions.
Swiss pianist, composer and producer Marie Kruttli, who splits her time between Switzerland and Berlin, steps away from her trio with bassist Lukas Traxel and drummer Jonathan Barber for a sophisticated solo album of original composition and improvisations, in thirteen succinct, emotional and introspectively elegant works.
"Jim" is US drummer & composer Jim Black working in Berlin, and The Shrimps are the trio of bassist Felix Henkelhausen and the two-sax front line of Germans, Asger Nissen on alto and Julius Gawlik on tenor, finding a rapport and common approach to free improv, they formed to perform & record Black's assertive compositions influenced by the tradition of Black American jazz.
A tour-de-force solo concert from the masterful improvising French double bassist Joëlle Léandre, performing at Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich in 2022, mostly performed through an astounding bowing exposition, accompanied at times by her worldless vocal improvising, the five parts of this concert evoking passion, power, and a lifetime of profound expression.
Formed in 1972 and releasing their first album in 1975, the enduring quartet OM of Urs Leimgruber on soprano saxophone, Christy Doran on electric guitar, Bobby Burri on double bass and Fredy Studer on drums & percussion, celebrate 50 years of intense genre-blurring creative jazz leveraging rock music's energy with this exhilarating album of structured collective improv.
A leading statesman of free jazz drumming, Andrew Cyrille's approach is influenced by both the Blue Note era and the groundbreaking work he participated in with Cecil Taylor or Trio3, still going strong and perceptively wise as heard on these eleven succinct studio solo performances, featuring favored percussive instruments adding melodic elements to these solid rhythmic vignettes.
Magnificent and succinct compositions merging contemporary and improvised approaches in powerfully elegant ways from Swiss pianist Katharina Weber, performing solo in the studio in 2022, presenting seventeen original compositions and two by György Kurtág, including pieces dedicated to Kurtág and Marta Kurtág, along with dedications to Heinz Holliger, Roland Moser, Gertrud Schneider, &c.
A series of spontaneous converstations captured live at the 2021 Copenhagen Jazz Festival at KoncertKirken, the second duo album between trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and pianist Kaja Draksler, using extraordinary and extended techniques to create lovely rolling textures or spacious sonic environments, passing between moods and approaches in natural and captivating ways.
Leveraging more than a decade of collaboration, New York saxophonist Tim Berne and pianist Matt Mitchell present an intimate live concert in Montreal at Club Soda, performing mostly Berne compositions and one by Julius Hemphill ("Number 2") in a thoughtful and innately lyrical set of seemingly telepathic dialogs interpreting Berne's intricate and innovative works.
Ydivide is Swiss drummer Clemens Kuratle's multi-national quintet with Dee Byrne on alto saxophone, Elliot Galvin on piano & electronics, Chris Guilfoyle on guitar and Lukas Traxel on bass, a dynamic young band performing Kuratle's structured compositions allowing for energetic and enthusiastic soloing amidst collective group work and lyrically introspective moments.
A series of sixteen succinctly expansive, dramatic and moody collective improvisations, evocative music of rich melodic and rhythmic foundation that coax inspired tempests from misty lands and seas, at the intersection of Austrian Hurdy Gurdy master Matthias Loibner and Zurich-based West Kamerun drummer Lucas Niggli; absolutely impressive and beguiling.
Founded in 2008, the Berlin-based Lisbeth Quartett under the direction of saxophonist and composer Charlotte Greve with core members Manuel Schmiedel on piano, Marc Muellbauer on bass and Moritz Baumgartner on drums, present nine lyrically cultured and beautifully fluid pieces through Greve's clever and sophisticated compositions of creative modern jazz.
The Lucaciu 3--Antonio Lucaciu (sax), Simon Lucaciu (piano) and Rober Lucaciu (bass)--are joined at Studio Loft in Koln, Germany by legendary Euro Free Jazz drummer Gunter Baby Sommer to record this exceptionally joyful and sophisticated album of creative jazz, with distinctive compositions from band members, alongside text from Hugo Ball and an adaptation of a Béla Bartók motiv.
Following her duo albums on Intakt with pianists Aki Takase and Kris Davis, New York saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock collaborates with pianist Andy Milne (Dapp Theory, M-Base Collective) for ten beautifully empathetic, delicate and sophisticated dialogs, Laubrock performing on tenor & soprano saxophones and Milne at times using preparations.
A new piano-less trio led by a modern giant of jazz--saxophonist David Murray--who composed the lyrically upbeat and swinging compositions for this Brave New World Trio with bassist Brad Jones and drummer Hamid Drake, two incredible and innovative players who expand each piece with enthusiastic playing of free and inventive approaches to Murray's music.
A beautiful trio album of compositions from pianist Yuko Fujiyama and presented in a mix of solo pieces and duets & trios with cornetist Graham Haynes and electronic improviser Ikue Mori, for a subtle set of elegant improvisations balancing spacious moments with responsively relaxed interplay rich with anticipation, punctuated with two poems by Shutaro Tankikawa.
A solo album from Austrian-born, NY-based pianist Elias Stemeseder, a member of the Jim Black Trio and Dre Hocevar, here presenting 14 original compositions, succinct works of inventive structures and insightful improvisation along with a traditional Austrian tune "foeggslia'l", an album revealing great skill, quick wit, and a complex mind that yields delightfully intrepid discovery.
Expanding on his live album "Zurich Concert" with trumpeter Jaimie Branch, Swiss guitarist Dave Gisler's trio with Raffaele Bossard on bass and Lionel Friedli on drums release this studio album with Branch returning, and adding New York tenor saxophonist David Murray for a mix of demanding jazz and introspective improv environments, a beautifully balanced album of avant jazz.
An absolutely avant piano trio of masterful playing that pushes the envelope on melodic, harmonic and rhythmic interaction, from Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion, Kaja Draksler on piano and Petter Eldh on bass, performing live at the 2021 Unheard Of Festival at Rote Fabrik, in Zurich, Switzerland for 13 concise and energetic collective improvisations.
Despite five years of performance in the NYC area, this is the debut album of the collective trio of Ingrid Laubrock on saxophones, Brandon Lopez on bass and Tom Rainey on drums, fueled by the near-telepathic rapport of Laubrock & Rainey and expanded by the ferocious and astute contributions of Lopez, avoiding histrionics through literate and impeccably controlled discourse.
One of Swiss saxophonist Omri Ziegele smaller group formations with Yves Theiler on electric keyboards and Dario Sisera on drums & percussion, in a lyrical set of compositions yielding strong soloing over solid grooves and warm moods, highlighting Ziegele's remarkably fluid playing; it's nearly jazz/rock fusion, but at heart it's a solid jazz album.
Succinct interpretations of compositions by New York saxophonist and composer Tim Berne, performed by Berne himself in a duo with guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi, whose collaborations with Berne and his recent album Koi: Performing the Music of Tim Berne show Belisle-Chi to be the most capably informed player to accompany Berne in these thoughtful renderings.
Another wonderfully ambitious and superbly executed album from pianist and composer Alexander Hawkins, with nods to Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and even Johann Sebastian Bach, expanding his core trio of bassist Neil Charles and drummer Stephen Davis with saxophonist & clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings, guitarist Otto Fischer and drummer Richard Olatunde Baker.
The 4th album from saxophonist & bass clarinetist Silke Ebherard with her long-running powerhouse trio of Jan Roder on bass and Kay Lübke on drums, presenting all Eberhard compositions showing her strong writing voice under the influence of jazz greats like Dolphy, Mingus and Coleman, through nine well-balanced pieces from bluesy introspection to burning freedom.
Named after an Ornette Coleman composition from his album of the same name, alto saxophonist Tim Berne leads his duel-saxophone quartet with Chris Speed on tenor saxophone and the rhythm section from The Bad Plus, drummer Dave King and bassist Reid Anderson, through twelve melodic free jazz works honoring the legacy of Coleman, Redman, Haden & Hemphill.
An absolutely impressive album of solo clarinet improvisations from reedist Chris Speed, known well for his saxophone work, here he displays inventive and implicitly lyrical approaches to this challenging reed instrument through great discipline, tone & technical skill as he presents succinct works inspired by John Coltrane, Julius Hemphill, Eric Dolphy and Paul Motion, &c.
After a series of performances in Europe in 2020, the duo of German saxophonist Angelika Niescier (Angelika Niescier sublim) and British pianist Alexander Hawkins recorded this passionately charged and intimate duo at the Loft in Koln, Germany, finding the two in a high-speed dance of weaving notes and ardent expression, a brilliant set from two virtuoso players.
An exemplary collective piano trio from Stephan Crump on acoustic bass, Kris Davis on piano and Eric McPherson on drums, their 2nd album as Borderlands Trio, recording in the studio for four exceptional, extended improvisations with an innate sense of lyricism and free flowing exchange of confident interaction, developing elegantly warm grooves and melodic progressions; beautiful.
With a clarity in both improvising and in composing, NY tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' second album with the rock solid quartet of Aruan Ortiz on piano, Brad Jones on bass and Chad Taylor on drums further explores his concepts of Molecular systematic music through powerfully solid compositions that lead to both lyrical and ardent soloing; exceptional.
Taking his Bay Area trio with bassist Jason Hoopes and drummer Jordan Glenn on the "Road", guitarist and improviser Fred Frith first presents the trio itself in a wonderfully diverse extended set at the Week-End Fest in Koln, Germany; then invites trumpeter Susana Santos Silva at Old Cabell Hall in University of Virginia; and then saxophonist Lotte Anker at Altes Kino in Ebersberg, Germany.
Informed by the traditions of creative jazz; an interest in unusual time signatures; the music of Hinudstani and Brazil; through drummer Dan Weiss the influence of Indian Classical music; through Steve Coleman and Five Element compatriot, guitarist Miles Ozaki, an urban electric edge; making for an album both technically interesting and musically absolutely rewarding.
Having performed together a number of times in festivals both in Europe and Chicago, the duo of drummer Hamid Drake and pianist Irene Schweizer reveals the familiarity and confidence their history brings to their improvisations, both in intense exchanges and playful melodic passages, as heard in this exemplary 2019 concert at Jazzgallery, in Nickelsdorf, Austria.
A collection of jazz standards performed with a modern approach to free playing, updating these essential melodies for the 21st century while adhering to their original warmth, from drummer Tom Rainey's exceptional New York Obligatto band of Ingrid Laubrock on saxophones, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Drew Gress on bass, and Jacob Sacks on piano.
Two decades after his last solo album, Michael Formanek returned to the studio to record these nine solo bass improvisations, each a profound spontaneous composition realizing structures and melodic development that incorporate journeys from abstraction into logical narrative territory as we follow the muse of a one of modern jazz' greatest bassists.
Perhaps one of the most complex piano trios active, Punkt.vrt.Plastik--Kaja Draksler on two different upright pianos, Petter Eldh on bass and Christian Lillinger on drums--explore unusual rhythmic approaches to jazz in exciting exchanges that fracture melody with rapidly veering impulse, always pulling back to reveal the mastery of their inventive playing.
This 1995 double CD presents the London Jazz Composer's Orchestra 1987 performances at Rote Fabrik, in Zurich, Switzerland and at the 1988 Taktlos-Festival, in a large ensemble that included Barre Philips, Dave Holland, Paul Lytton, Tony Oxley, Howard Riley, Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall, Trevor Watts, Paul Rutherford, Radu Malfatti, Jon Corbett, Phillip Wachsmann, &c.
Including six of his own compositions, a work by Sylvie Courvoiser and Ornette Coleman's "Peace Warrior", New York violin virtuoso Mark Feldman's new solo album, recorded in the studio in Brooklyn, is a touchpoint to his skills and creative imagination today, 26 years after his first solo album, displaying a profound ability to engage and inspire his listeners.
Having worked together for 40 years starting in the 80's in the Downtown NY scene, guitarist Fred Frith and electronic artist Ikue Mori recorded this album in Germany, using studio time left after recording the music for a radio play by Werner Penzel, using that work as an influence for these exceptional improvisations on home made instruments, toys and electronics.